Some benefits of horseback riding for kids are obvious. For example, horseback riding builds confidence and is a great form of exercise.
It also has a few surprise benefits. For example, riding horseback improves cognitive ability in kids. This means an improvement in the ability to learn. It happens because the vibrations during riding get the sympathetic nervous system going.
Amazing, right? And there are many other benefits that your kid or kids can experience by going to a horseback riding-focused camp. But what exactly are all the benefits of this kind of specialty camp, you ask?
To help, we’ve put together nine benefits of horseback riding for kids at summer camp. Keep reading to see what’s in store for your little ones, and then get on it to find the ideal horseback riding camp.
1. A Great Introduction to Horseback Riding
For kids new to horseback riding, camp provides an instant immersion. They get the knowledgeable instructors, horses for beginners, and ideal setting and paths for beginner riders.
At the camp, kids are taught what it’s like to care for horses and the level of commitment required. There is also the opportunity to be with other kids who are really enthusiastic about horseback riding.
At horse riding camp, kids are fully immersed in the riding lifestyle throughout the duration of the camp. They get a good idea of what it’s like to be a horse person, the time commitment, the hard work that goes into it, as well as the joy.
By the end of camp, kids usually know if this is something they want to pursue.
2. A Huge Confidence Boost
Kids learn how to control a 1,000-pound animal! That’s huge, literally and figuratively. As kids begin to communicate with their horses, self-esteem goes through the roof.
The mastery of each command and each ride continues to add confidence. This is especially true when kids are hesitant or afraid at first.
Camp is a safe place where campers can learn and overcome their fears in a nurturing environment. Experienced teachers are there to encourage them.
And campers are surrounded by friends and peers going through the same things. Everyone is overcoming fears and challenges together and they can encourage each other.
3. A Crash Course in Responsibility
As soon as kids step out to prep for the ride, they are required to be responsible. Campers must show up for the ride and be wearing the right gear.
Campers have to get the horse ready to ride. They must pay close attention as they ride while doing what they learned in their lessons. This requires focus and determination.
Using the correct directions and movements with body, reigns, and feet, riders must communicate appropriately with each horse. As the horse responds, kids feel a sense of pride that reinforces the purpose of acting responsibly.
4. Fitness and Athletic Skills
Riding is no walk in the park. It’s a full workout for the whole body.
Once in the saddle, many muscles are in action for the whole ride, including those the core, legs, arms, shoulders, and even hands. Kids can expect to be very sore after the first day.
Strength and endurance are needed and will build up over the course of the camp. Kids that ride seriously often add in extra training to build increased stamina, flexibility, endurance, and muscle memory.
5. A Practice in Focusing
Horseback riding requires doing a variety of skills all at once, and when kids are in that saddle, they need full focus to pull them all together.
The commands, body movements, and nudges must all be remembered. Knowing the destination is also key, as is listening closely to the signals from the giant animal under the saddle.
At camp, focus is needed for many hours a day. Kids build stamina and quickly learn to tune everything else out.
Eventually, as the skills become easier, riding turns into a welcome timeout. It’s a moment of joy and connection with the horse, the other riders, and nature.
6. A Chance to Develop Character
In addition to building self-esteem, confidence, and responsibility, horseback riding teaches kids other wonderful character traits. As riders get to know their horses, they begin to feel empathy and love toward and from the horses.
Riders must learn patience with the horses and with themselves as they learn to ride. If things don’t go well and the horse doesn’t understand the commands, riders often feel frustrated but must be patient as the relationship develops.
Horseback riding gives kids the chance to experience joy and a sense of play. This teaches the importance of balance and happiness in everyday life.
7. A Chance to Spend Time With Like-Minded Friends
Riders typically end up forming a tight group and strong friendships as they work together to take care of horses at the barn, learn, and enjoy long rides. At camp, there is also time to do other activities and form an even stronger bond.
It’s a positive social environment. And if your kid stays interested and into horses, she or he can find that same, nice camaraderie at the barn at home.
8. A Chance to Unplug
When taking care of a horse or when riding, kids probably won’t be thinking about anything else. It’s like a form of meditation in play that gives kids a chance to step away from daily life and be with themselves and nature.
9. Improved Riding Skills for Advanced Riders
If your kid is a more advanced rider, the right riding camp offers the chance to work with new trainers, get new advice, and further advance riding skills.
Camp offers the chance to ride with other advanced riders and rise to a new level.
Find Camps That Offer Horseback Riding for Kids
Now that you know a few of the many benefits of horseback riding for kids at camp, did any of them jump out at you? Do you think your kid would enjoy a riding camp? Then it’s time to find the right horseback riding camp.
We’re here to help with advice and a treasure trove of information on various camps for kids and teens. Contact us today so we can help you find the right camp for your kid.